What do nuclear plants and orchestras have in common?

What do nuclear plants and orchestras have in common? You might be surprised! When it comes to Framatome (formerly AREVA NP)’s suite of steam generator solutions, it’s more similar than you might think. Let’s examine some of the similarities.

Every orchestra has sections

An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music that mixes instruments from different families, each grouped in sections. A typical orchestra includes sections with bowed string instruments such as violin, viola, cello and double bass, as well as brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as well as the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments.

Like an orchestra, Framatome (formerly AREVA NP)’s Steam Generator Services team has its sections, and depending on the work being performed, different combinations of our technology may be used to create a pitch-perfect arrangement for the utility customer based on their needs. Our “sections” include:

  • Inspection / diagnostics
  • Analysis / prediction
  • Maintenance
  • Remediation

Click on the below graphic to learn more about the “instruments” in our orchestra:

Orchestras have a conductor

Orchestras are usually led by a conductor who directs the performance with movements of the hands and arms, often made easier for the musicians to see by use of a conductor’s baton. The conductor unifies the orchestra, sets the tempo and shapes the sound of the ensemble. The conductor also prepares the orchestra by leading rehearsals before the public concert, in which the conductor provides instructions to the musicians on their interpretation of the music being performed.

Framatome (formerly AREVA NP)’s steam generator conductors bring similar leadership and accountability to bear for our utility customers. We ensure our teams are efficient and streamlined, that they are prepared well in advance, and that they work in harmony with the plant’s personnel to meet the plant’s outage goals.

Like the conductor’s movements provide direction and set the tempo for an orchestra, our MAESTRO life cycle management solution utilizes patented software and other evaluation tools to provide a utility customer long-term operation and maintenance direction for their steam generators. Using models of thermal performance, tube degradation, 3D deposit mapping and even financial performance data, we can look at all competing alternatives and provide a quantitative basis for decisions related to outage scope and budget planning for a steam generator’s entire licensed life.

The number of musicians in the orchestra

A full-size orchestra may sometimes be called a symphony orchestra or philharmonic orchestra. The actual number of musicians employed in a given performance may vary from seventy to over one hundred musicians, depending on the work being played and the size of the venue. The term chamber orchestra (and sometimes concert orchestra) usually refers to smaller-sized ensembles of about fifty musicians or fewer.

As with an orchestra, the number of steam generator personnel deployed to a plant varies from site to site and outage to outage depending on the type and scope of work we’re performing for the utility customer. This spring, our overall outage services team deployed over 1,900 workers to outages at 27 different locations – of those deployed, over 400 employees performed at six steam generator outages, inspecting an impressive 164,826 steam generator tubes.

Commitment to excellence

Committed to achieving excellence, an orchestra follows a rigid practice regimen, one dedicated to mastering the music. Performers begin learning and refining their individual parts well in advance. And they practice as an orchestra with their conductor – often on a daily basis – for weeks leading up to a performance to perfect the timing and tempo of the music being performed.

As the conductor prepares his or her musicians, Framatome (formerly AREVA NP)’s SG conductors ensure our personnel receive advanced training on the tools and techniques at our Technical Training Center in Lynchburg, Va. They work with plant outage staff months in advance to ensure we understand the scope and schedule for each outage, and how our tasks are part of the plant’s critical path. We refine our tasks and team’s skills to ensure we stay at or below the scheduled outage duration and dose.

And like the musicians themselves, Framatome (formerly AREVA NP)’s forward-thinking personnel work hard to achieve operational excellence. Our personnel are committed to mastering and honing their basic skill sets to keep them at the ready. We value continuous improvement of our existing technology as well as the development of the innovative technology as the foundation for our success.

The complete ensemble

An orchestra combines high-quality instruments in the hands of skilled performers with the focus, vision and mastery of a conductor to deliver a flawless performance that meets the expectations of their audience.

In the same way, Framatome (formerly AREVA NP) provides the complete ensemble of people, performance, and technology for the steam generator primary and secondary side – working in concert to help successfully orchestrate SG life cycle management plans. We bring the leadership utility customers need combined with a mastery of the technology to provide services they can trust and respect. And we ensure that our teams work in harmony with site personnel to help plant operators meet and even exceed their outage goals. When it comes to providing steam generator solutions for our utility customers, we’re listening – and we’re in tune.